God is good.
I passed level 1 on my first attempt.
The night before exam results I was feeling down because I was convinced I didn’t pass. The next morning when I checked my phone I saw that I “passed”. I still wasn’t fully convinced. I have read news articles of people mistakenly getting acceptance letters into schools. “Maybe it was a mistake?” “Maybe I will get a follow-up e-mail saying I was sent the incorrect result.”
I think it’s fair to say that I’m an idiot. I also work at a cell phone store. I also procrastinate a lot. I didn’t really study much during my college years and didn’t put in many hours to study for the CFA exam. I was able to intern for a bulge bracket during college. After I graduated college I had zero confidence and didn’t even try to apply for “good” jobs because I consider myself a realist. There are way too many people with 4.0s and even above average is garbage when it comes to the finance industry.
It was difficult for me to study for long periods of time. I get distracted and bored easily. I was able to take a vacation a couple weeks before the exam and I told myself I would study during that time. Instead, I went to Asia and wasted a lot of time. Jetlag didn’t help either. I told myself I would study hardcore days before the exam. I got some studying in, but I lost a lot of money going 100% short as the S&P 500 was hitting all time highs and volatility hit multi-year lows. The technicals were screaming buy buy buy, but I am not a big fan of technicals. I had put options on the SPY and call options on the VIX. I was losing large (relative) amounts of money and it was very difficult to concentrate on studying. I was constantly stressed and I had trouble sleeping, including the night before the exam.
I don’t know if I have any right to give advice on passing the level 1 exam because I didn’t put a lot of work into it. The things I just mentioned are things every candidate should avoid. Here are things that I did that may have helped me.
I took practice exams days before the exam. Review EVERY question you got incorrect and write notes on a word document on the material that relates to the question you got incorrect. These are your weak points and by the time you have taken a few practice exams you should have a couple pages of notes on material you probably need to focus on the most.
Avoid wasting too much time on this forum and stop asking stupid questions on here that won’t help you learn the material. I have barely posted on this forum because the i feel like it’s more productive to try to learn the material yourself and not rely on others to give you the answer. There are some really cool and helpful people on here. The guy with the horse avatar seems very nice and genuinely tries to help candidates. This other guy with the yoda avatar talks a lot of crap and thinks very highly of himself. These are my main observations from reading this forum. Also, there is a lot of negativity on this forum. Don’t listen to these people. Focus on the material. That’s it.
Do everything you can to take some time off before the exam (Everyone says this).
Don’t do what I did and put yourself in high stress situations days before the exam.
I strongly suggest you DO NOT procrastinate. I may have procrastinated, but that only means I need to study even harder for level 2 and I’m probably going to need to review some level 1 material again. Again, I consider myself a realist and there is NO WAY I will be able to pass level 2 with the amount of studying I put into level 1. As many of you may know bad habits are very hard to change. I haven’t started studying for level 2 yet, but when I do I’m going to have to get used to long study sessions and be better organized.
There is no way I could have passed this by myself. God is on my side. Thank you all for reading my story and God Bless.